Tag Archives: Cbt And The Brain

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help Repair The Cortex

We have seen from other articles that I have published on this site how severe and protracted childhood trauma can adversely affect the physical development of the brain, including, most importantly, the prefrontal cortex ; this damage to the cortex, amongst other affects, can make it much more difficult for us to control our emotions.

This is because the prefrontal cortex is the ‘thinking / rational’ part of the brain that we use to control our emotions (which are generated in the part of the brain known as the limbic system).

If its functioning is impaired, we are in danger of our emotions dictating our behavior at the expense of our more rational judgment (which, in severe cases, of course, can be a recipe for personal disaster in ways that would constitute a very long list).

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps to retrain the functionality of the prefrontal cortex so that we can increase our control of over our emotions, as opposed to permitting our emotions to be in control over us.

In more technical terms, CBT, by helping to change the way in which we think and behave, enhances the ability of the prefrontal cortex to inhibit our irrational and dysfunctional emotions that may otherwise may cause us to make decisions, or act in ways, of which we later feel regretful or ashamed.

In essence, then, CBT can help our cognitive system to over-ride our emotional system, rather than letting our emotional system over-ride our cognitive system.

SUPPORTING EVIDENCE :

A study conducted by Porto et al. (2009), which carried out a meta-analysis of the relevant research, supported the idea that CBT does indeed beneficially alter the brain on a neurobiological level by changing neural circuits in a manner that helps to control dysfunctional emotions, as has other studies.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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